Predictors of Health Plan Satisfaction Among Employees in an Academic Setting
Center for Health Outcomes, Policy and Evaluation Studies, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.American Journal of Medical Quality (Impact Factor: 1.25). 05/2010; 25(4):274-84. DOI: 10.1177/1062860609360279
This study's goal was to identify the strongest predictors of satisfaction with a health plan offered to employees at a large university in the Midwestern United States. Survey responses from 1533 employees were analyzed (response rate of 51.2%). Unadjusted odds ratios (ORs) were calculated to identify factors that were statistically associated with plan satisfaction. Multivariate logistic regression analyses followed by likelihood ratio testing were conducted to assess the predictive value of particular variables. The strongest predictors of satisfaction with the health plan were the perceived quality of the plan's wellness and prevention services (OR = 3.69), having a personal doctor or nurse (OR = 2.70), being satisfied with the cost of the health plan (OR = 2.18), and having claims handled correctly (OR = 1.90). The factors that have the greatest individual effect on these findings were the quality of the plan's prevention and wellness services and how effectively the plan communicated how much particular services or visits would cost.
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ABSTRACT: The rapidly escalating cost of health care, including the cost of providing health care benefits, is a significant concern for many employers. In this article, the authors examine a case study of an academic health center that undertook a complete redesign of its health benefit structure to control rising costs, encourage use of its own provider network, and support employee wellness. With the implementation in 2006 of a high-deductible health plan combined with health reimbursement arrangements and wellness incentives, the Penn State Hershey Medical Center (PSHMC) was able to realize significant cost savings and increase use of its own network while maintaining a high level of employee satisfaction. By contracting with a single third-party administrator for its self-insured plan, PSHMC reduced its administrative costs and simplified benefit choices for employees. In addition, indexing employee costs to salary ensured that this change was equitable for all employees, and the shift to a consumer-driven health plan led to greater employee awareness of health care costs. The new health benefit plan's strong focus on employee wellness and preventive health has led to significant increases in the use of preventive health services, including health risk assessments, cancer screenings, and flu shots. PSHMC's experience demonstrates the importance of clear and ongoing communication with employees throughout-before, during, and even after-the process of health benefit redesign.
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